as an International
The League of Nations' Report on
" Esperanto as an International Auxiliary Language.
1. — The Report was unanimously adopted by the Third
Assembly of the League, 1922.
2. — In supporting it, Lord Robert Cecil said that he
considered the Report a great success for Esperanto, and that
he was in favour of Esperanto.
3. — Esperanto is the most widely spoken artificial language
4. — Esperanto is a living language (page 11).
5. — Esperanto possesses a library of about 4,000 printed
works, translated and original (page 11).
6. — Esperanto is taught in Primary and Secondary Schools
in about 320 towns in 17 different Countries, and in Evening
Classes in about 1,200 towns scattered through 39 Countries of
the five Continents (page 14).
7. — The Report by M. Andre Baudet to the Paris Chamber
of Commerce (page 35) is a most convincing presentation by an
independent expert of the case for Esperanto as a commercial
8 — The Memorandum by the British Board of Education
states some notable results from the teaching of Esperanto in
(a) The teachers say that the children speak better, write
better composition, and are better able to follow the
intricacies of English grammar (page 52).
(b) Esperanto is grammar incarnate (page 52).
(c) Esperanto has proved helpful in acquiring foreign
languages (page 54).
(d) There appears to be ample justification for allowing
the experiments to go on, and for encouraging other
experiments in the large towns, and especially in the
large seaport towns (page 53).
9. The Memorial by the International Conference of
Teachers held in Geneva in April, 1922, states (page 56) :
" With two lessons per week of one hour each the
pupils should be able to obtain a sufficient mastery of
Esperanto in one year, such as is not possible in any
other language under similar circumstances under three
Here is the case for Esperanto as presented to the highest
International Tribunal in the world. By the publication of this
Report the League of Nations has placed Esperanto in a
commanding position as the International Auxiliary Language,
and it is only a question of time before it is taught in all the
Schools of the world.
Educationists now have Esperanto before them as a fact to
be reckoned with. British teachers should not be slow to
acquaint their pupils with it, and to introduce it into their
The British Esperanto Association (Incorp.), 17, Hart
Street, London, W.C.I, will be glad to furnish information,
and to supply Text-books, Dictionaries and Literature to those
as an International
Report of the General Secretariat
of the League of Nations
adopted by the Third Assembly, 1922.
as an International
REPORT OF THE GENERAL SECRETARIAT TO THE
THIRD ASSEMBLY, AS AMENDED AND ADOPTED
BY THE FIFTH COMMITTEE OF THE ASSEMBLY
ON SEPTEMBER 14th, AND BY THE ASSEMBLY ON
SEPTEMBER 21st, 1922.
Since its foundation, the League of Nations has constantly-
received petitions in favour of the adoption of an auxiliary
international language, and more particularly of Esperanto,
which has spread to many countries and which is taught in
some of the State schools in several countries. The Secretariat
has examined these proposals with great interest ; they show
that in scientific, commercial, philanthropic, tourist and, evea
more, in working-class circles, there is a feeling that it is
urgently necessary to escape from the linguistic complications
which impede international relations and particularly direct
relations between peoples.
During the first two Assemblies, delegates from Brazil, Bel-
gium, Chile, China, Colombia, Czechoslovakia, Haiti, Italy,
50 6 1
Japan, India, Persia, Poland, Roumania and South Africa
brought forward resolutions suggesting that the League of
Nations should recommend the universal teaching of Esperanto
in schools as an auxiliary international language.
The Second Committee of the First Assembly adopted the
following conclusions :
"The Committee agreed with the signatories in recognis-
ing the serious linguistic difficulties which impede direct
relations between the peoples, and in desiring that an
international language should be taught in all the schools —
a simple and easy language which the children would learn
side by side with their mother-tongue, and which would
serve the future generations as a practical means of inter-
national communication. The Committee considered,
however, that it would be desirable to begin by under-
taking an enquiry on the basis of existing facts. The
Committee was interested to learn that the World Congress
ef International Associations which met at Brussels in
September last had succeeded in securing the unanimity of
the partisans of an international language for the teaching
of Esperanto,, and that it had recommended to all those
interested in the matter to concentrate on Esperanto in
order to hasten a practical solution of the question. It has
also learned from the representatives of Persia and of China
to the League of Nations that a widespread popular move-
ment is beginning to take shape in Asia with the same
object in view, while several other States Members of the
League, such as Brazil and Czechoslovakia, have already
introduced the teaching of Esperanto in the Government
schools. The same applies to various municipalities in
England and Italy.
"Finally, the Committee was informed that this auxiliary
international language has been employed with success in
several considerable universal congresses, where the speak-
ers of all countries were able to understand each other
easily, and where the debates were carried on throughout
in one and the same language, all the speakers being placed
©n a footing of most complete equality.
"The Committee, however, thought that the Assembly
should not undertake responsibilities beyond its compe-
tence, and that it would be necessary to suppress a para-
graph in the proposal which had been submitted to it and
to change it into a simple Recommendation, indicating to
the Secretariat the desirability of proceeding to an enquiry
in order that the next Assembly might be informed as ta
the results obtained in this respect.
'•The following is the text of the Recommendation which
the Committee proposes to submit to a majority vote :
"The League of Nations, well aware of the language
difficulties that prevent a direct intercourse between
the peoples and of the urgent need of finding some
practical means to remove this obstacle and help the
good understanding of nations,
"Follows with interest the experiments of official
teaching of the international language Esperanto in
the public schools of some Members of the League, and
" Recommends to the Secretary-General to prepare,
for the next Assembly, a report on the results reached
in this respect."
The First Assembly considered that it was premature to open
a discussion on this subject, and it was the Second Assembly
which 'took up these conclusions, instructed the Secretariat to
undertake the suggested enquiry, and decided to put the ques-
tion of the teaching of Esperanto in schools on the agenda of
the Third Assembly.
Txie conclusions of the Second Assembly were as follows :
"The Committee is of opinion that this question, in which
an ever-increasing number of States are interested, should
be attentively studied before it can be dealt with by the
Assembly. The question was referred to a Committee last
year and a short report was submitted, recommending that
the Secretariat of the League should investigate the experi-
ments already made and ascertain the actual results
"The Committee proposes that the question should be
placed on the agenda of the next Assembly and that the
Secretariat of the League should in the meantime prepare
a complete report, accompanied by the necessary documen-
tation, on the lines indicated in the draft resolution.
i; ln accordance with the wishes of the signatories, the
report of the Second Committee dated December 17th, 1920,
and the report of the Under Secretary-General upon his mis-
sion to the Congress at Prague, will be transmitted to the
Members of the League in due course.'*
(Resolution adopted on September i$th t 1921.)
To carry out the work entrusted to it, the Secretariat sent
questionnaires to all the States Members of the League of
Nations and to the competent organisations, and also offered the
use of its offices at Geneva for an International Conference on
the Teaching of Esperanto in Schools, at which the Govern-
ments of sixteen States were officially represented as well as
municipal and school authorities and educational associations
of 28 countries. This technical Conference, which was con-
vened in a scientific and impartial spirit by the School of Edu-
cational Science (Institut J. J. Rousseau at Geneva), has
furnished the Secretariat with a great part of the information
on teaching which has been collected.
In addition to the replies to the questionnaires as to experi-
ments that have been made and results obtained by teaching
Esperanto in schools, the Secretariat has received a further
number of documents and proposals concerning the general
problem of an international language. Influential Scandinavian
associations have proposed that English should be adopted as
the world-wide auxiliary language. In certain American cir-
cles a revival of Latin was suggested. We have also had
schemes laid before us for new languages such as Occidental,
Parlamento and Neo-Latina, and attempts to reform Esperanto,
such as Ido and Esperantide. The Secretariat has sometimes
been asked to set up a sort of linguistic tribunal to judge the
respective merits of the languages proposed. These documents
have been examined with the utmost care, and an endeavour
has been made to collect information on all sides of the ques-
The following remarks may be of some interest to the As-
sembly ; it is obvious that the problem of an international lan-
guage is both a practical and a linguistic one. It is not enough
to decide on the best possible language (on the supposition that
a universally accepted principle can be found). We must not
only discover a language which is universally accepted as satis-
fying certain requirements ; we must also see that it is adopted
and taught. Experience, the prestige already acquired and the
resources in books and teaching staff must be taken into
account. The Governments cannot be asked to launch out on
an entirely theoretical adventure.
From this point of view, it is evident that some of the lan-
guages proposed, such as English and Latin, have great advan-
tages, but their drawbacks are obvious. French, which is an
admirable literary language and which plays a leading part in
diplomatic relations in Europe, has also claims to universality.
These two diplomatic languages French and English will cer-
tainly continue to play an important part in the intercourse
between intellectual circles. Spanish, again, which is the offi-
cial language of 22 States in Europe and America, is daily
— 9 —
Increasing in prestige. It would touch on too delicate a ques-
tion to attempt to establish the supremacy of one national
tongue over all others.
Latin has at least the advantage of being a neutral language
from a political if not from a religious point of view, but it is
difficult to learn, and is therefore not very accessible to the
masses ; its vocabulary, too, has long ceased to meet the needs
of modern life. To restore its practical role as an international
language, in which it was formerly so useful, it would be
necessary arbitrarily to revise its vocabulary and to simplify
its grammar \ Many admirers of the language of Cicero would
prefer in that case that an artificial language should be chosen
and classical Latin be left untouched.
An artificial language lacks the prestige conferred by centuries
of long historical and literary tradition, but at the same time
the whole of its vocabulary can be borrowed from existing lan-
guages and can benefit from that tradition. On the other hand,
it may be infinitely easier to learn than a national language
whose grammar is full of irregularities. In course of time it
may become flexible and gradually acquire new words and
phrases, particularly if talented writers and orators use it, but
it can never be more than a secondary language, limited to
exceptional relations between persons of different nations ; it
will therefore be of a practical and conventional nature and
could not compete with languages which have an historical
tradition 2 .
The progress of linguistic science has brought about a more
or less uniform conception of what is required in an inter-
national language. All the later systems devised since and
Including Esperanto are very much alike and are based on the
same principles : a vocabulary drawn from the elements
common to the modern languages of Europe and America, a
grammar reduced to a minimum, the Latin alphabet and sim-
plified spelling. The differences between the later systems are
so small that many, like Ido and Esperantide, are really only
modifications of Esperanto 3 .
1 Professor Peano has published a remarkable study of Latino sine
2 Hindustani plays such a part as a practical auxiliary language in
3 Here, for instance, is one sentence rendered in these different
« Por un horn ve-rmen civilisat, un filosof, o un jurist, li conossentie
del latin es desirabil, ma un lingue internationa es util por li modern
complication de un land al altri. »
(Contii lie I ■ verlt
- - 10 —
It would be rash to deliver a judgment as to the actual impor-
tance of these differences, which are relatively slight. They are
explained by a simple difference in the point of view ; in some
systems, like Occidental or Ido, great importance is attached to
the effect produced by written texts on an inexperienced Wes-
tern reader ; in others, like Esperanto, the aim is to attain the
maximum of simplicity for all peoples, taking also into account
the difficulties of Orientals. Esperantide and Occidental are
more recent than Ido, which their authors criticised "for being
a backward step rather than a progress upon Esperanto, the
grammar of which it made more complicated".
The difficulty is that, although linguists agree upon the main
principles, they disagree — sometimes vehemently — upon
details of application which appear to them perhaps more
important in theory than they are in practice 1 .
A study of the history of the proposed reforms such as Ido
and Esperantide, which are in many points contradictory, leads
to a fear that if a new committee of theorists met to-day, such
as the committee which proposed Ido in 1907, it would propose
further modifications which in their turn would be criticised at
the end of a few years and so on indefinitely. It is to the
interest of the world to have one auxiliary language, not two or
three, and, from a practical point of view, there is 'less risk in.
taking one of which some experience has been gained and
which has already attained some tradition and a guarantee of
An eminent body like the British Association of Sciences,
after having examined different proposals and rejected Latin,
came to the conclusion that Esperanto and Ido were both
suitable (from a linguistic point of view) and that they were
« Por homo vere civilizita, filozofo or yuristo, la kono de la latina
lingvo estas dezirebla, sed internacia lingvo estas utila por moderna
interkomunikado dey una lando al alia. »
« Por homo vere civilizita. filozofo od yuristo, la konoc© dil Latina
esas dezirinda, ma linguo internacioHa esas utila por la komunikado
moderna de un lando al altra. »
« Por homo vere civilizita, filozofo au juristo, la kono de la latiaa
lingvo estas dezirebla, sed internacia lingvo estas utila por moderna inter-
komunikado de lando al alia.s
1 Fox example, it is not a vital matter to the world whether nouns
form their plural in es, in on, in oy or in i as long as the commoi
international vocabulary (mostly Anglo-Latin) is practically the same.
— 11 -
not prepared to choose between the two. Other organisations,
such as the Paris Chamber of Commerce and the Finnish
Parliament, found that Ido was an unnecessary complication
arid pronounced definitely for Esperanto. The World Congress
of International Associations, which met a Brussels in 1920,
recommended all those who advocated an international lan-
guage to concentrate on Esperanto 1 .
It seems certain that there may be more than one suitable
form of language and that it would be rash to claim that any
individual one is incontestably superior to all the others on all
points. This is often a question of the social or geographical
point of view rather than of scientific judgment, and what seems
a defect in the eyes of one is often an advantage in the eyes
The Secretariat has been instructed to study the question
specially from a practical point of view, basing its enquiries
on facts and more particularly on the teaching of Esperanto
in schools. Esperanto is certainly the most widely spoken arti-
ficial language in universal congresses and in gatherings of all
kinds, in travelling, in international offices, and even in the
theatre. This makes it a living language — a characteristic
not possessed by any of the systems which are only written
and not spoken. It has become possible to express feelings in it.
After 35 years, the language has begun to attain a style. There
are some writers and speakers who really use it with force and
elegance. Its sonorous qualities remind one of the Romance
languages of the South, due to the fact that the accent rests on
the penultimate syllable and that the endings are vowels.
From the point of view of material, Esperanto possesses a
library of about 4,000 printed works, both translated and ori-
ginal. There are reviews and publications of all kinds, text-
books and dictionaries in almost all languages, and a staff of
teachers in quite a large number of countries. What it still
lacks is technical vocabularies for several important sciences.
There already exist Esperanto vocabularies for chemistry,
pharmaceutics, mechanics, navigation and botany, but there
are not any for electricity, physics and geology. The Esperanto
Academy should have these vocabularies prepared at once.
The lack of financial resources seems to have been the chief
cause of this delay.
In the spoken language, Esperanto has hitherto been very
chary of creating new words because it was feared that it might
become complicated, but the authors are gradually adding to
1 The French and Italian Associations of Sciences pronounced f©r
the vocabulary, and the Academy is registering roots which
come into general use. All the work undertaken, even outside
Esperanto and even by its critics, could perhaps be used for
the further development of the language. Work like that of
Peano (international vocabulary), de Saussure (Esperantide)
and L. de Beaufront (Ido) can render great assistance to the
Esperanto Academy from the point of view of its future dic-
Esperanto in Public Education
Dr. Zamenhof (whose pseudonym was Dr. Esperanto),
published his first text-books in Warsaw in 1887. He was born
in 1859 and died in 1917. He* strove throughout his life to
accomplish a dream of his childhood : to reconcile the nations
by enabling them to understand one another. Language for
him was not an end in itself but an instrument of human
When taking part in the Thirteenth Universal Esperanto
Congress at Prague, where 2,500 representatives from all coun-
tries in the world were gathered together, the Under-Secretary-
General of the League of Nations was struck by the high aims
and the spirit of enthusiasm for international co-operation
which animated the assembly. He pointed out in his report
that the development of the language and its vitality owe
much to the powerful spiritual impetus given to the movement
and to Esperanto literature by Dr. Zamenhof. It is in the
countries of Eastern and Northern Europe that the language
found its first thousands of students, who banded themselves
together under the aegis of the Review "Lingvo Internacia"
founded at Upsala in Sweden.
Since the universal exhibition in Paris in 1900, the movement
made rapid progress in France, where it received a warm wel-
come in the university world. From that time onwards, it was
France who worked to make Esperanto known abroad and wh«
aroused the interest of foreign official institutions.
The principal leaders of the Esperanto movement before the
war were almost all French university men. The rector of a
French university was President of the Esperanto Academy,
and a member of the Institut de France was at the head, of the
In 1905, the Government of the French Republic awarded the
— 14 — .
Legion of Honour to Dr. Zanienhof, and the first Universal
Esperanto Congress was held in France. The Tenth Congress
was to take place at Paris on August ist, 1914, and 4,000 repre-
sentatives were to take part in it. The war put a stop to this
The world disaster, however, which brought whole nations
face to face, made more tragically evident the need for an inter-
national language in the work of the Red Cross, relief work
among the wounded, the prison camps and the intercourse bet-
ween allied armies. The French Under-Secretary of State for
the Army Medical Service made arrangements, in an official
circular dated May 20th, 1916, for the distribution of Esperanto
Red Cross manuals to the staff of the Army Medical Corps. In
the great internment camps in Siberia, thousands of men of all
nationalities learned Esperanto in order to get acquainted with
each other and with their Japanese guards. Facts such as
these induced the Tenth International Red Cross Conference,
which was convened after the war, to recommend the general
study of Esperanto "as one «of the most powerful means of
obtaining international understanding and co-operation in the
realisation of the humane ideal of the Red Cross".
Before the war, Esperanto was chiefly taught to adults by
private associations or in evening courses. 1,574 associations
were registered in 24 countries. At the same time, optional
instruction in the international language had been inaugurated
in the primary schools of Lille and at the Lycee de St.-Omer,
in France. In 1916, the educational authorities of Eccles, near
Manchester, in England, with the consent of the Ministry of
Education., organised in one of their schools the first, experi-
ment in the compulsory teaching of Esperanto.
It was seen that the maximum utility hoped for would only
be realised when the international language was taught as a
second language to all school-children throughout the world.
The example given was soon followed by other municipalities in
England and by the Ministries of other States.
To-day, Esperanto is taught in certain of the primary or
secondary shools of about 320 towns in 17 different countries,
and in evening classes in about 1,200 towns scattered throughout
39 countries of the five continents. The following are the coun-
tries in which an official decision has been taken by the State
or by important local authorities.
In Albania, the Cabinet has just decided to make Esperanto
a compulsory subject in secondary and higher education (Decree
N° 475." June 3rd, 1922).
In Bulgaria, Parliament, has placed it on the curriculum by
legal enactment (Article 143 of the Education Act passed in
1921). The teaching of it as an optional subject began in 1921-
1922, in 25 secondary vState schools. The official reports men-
tion 30 classes, 25 teachers, and 784 pupils of both sexes. Espe-
ranto is taught in training courses for secondary school teachers,
in the Sofia Military School, in the Home for the Blind of Sofia
and in public evening classes in 19 towns. The Bulgarian
Esperanto Association has branches in 25 towns and the League
of Youth in six districts. The movement is under the patro-
nage of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Red Cross,
the Society of Literary Men, the Associations of Tourists, the
Teachers Society and a certain number of the Professors of Sofia
University. Thirteen Esperanto text-books and four diction-
aries have been published in Bulgarian, and 45,000 copies of these
books have been sold.
The Government subsidised the Fourth National Esperanto
Congress, which was held under the patronage of the Ministry
of Education. Esperanto has been used in the organisation of
numerous gatherings and meetings between Bulgarian, Serbian
and Roumanian Associations. It was in Esperanto that a
representative of the Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles,
M. Parish, lectured in Bulgarian towns on California.
In Brazil, where several ministries have encouraged the
spread of Esperanto, that language has been taught since 1910
as an optional subject in primary and secondary schools of Rio
de Janeiro. The Act of October 31st, 1918, introduced it into
the training college and into the secondary schools of the State
of Sergipe, and the Decree of January nth, 1919, introduced it
into the primary and technical schools and training colleges
within the Federal District.
In October 192 1, the Esperanto League of Brazil was recog-
nised as being of public utility by the two Houses of the Fed-
eral Parliament. A Ministerial Decree of March 10th, 1915,
recognises Esperanto in the telegraphic service, and a ministerial
circular of February 4th, 1922, orders all the post-office directors
to send in the names of officials knowing Esperanto. We have
received at the Secretariat of the League of Nations a petition
in support of Esperanto signed by 225 eminent representatives
of Brazil — a former President of the Republic, Ministers, Sena-
tors, Members of the Federal Parliament, members of literary,
scientific and medical academies, heads of faculties, university
professors, the Director of the Polytechnic School, the Presi-
dents of the Geographical and Medical Societies and of the
Federation of Chambers of Commerce, well-known authors and
In Belgium, where the King was the patron of the Tenth
— 16 —
Universal Esperanto Congress in 191 1 and where the heir to the
throne is the Patron of the Esperanto League, that language
has been introduced into the fourth division of the primary
schools of Verviers by decision of the Municipal Council. The
Municipality of St.-Gilles, Brussels, has taught it officially
since 1911 by means of an annual course open to pupils over
16 years of age. The municipality of Antwerp teaches it in its
continuation classes since 1921.
In China, a Ministerial Decree dated 1911 introduced Espe-
ranto into the curriculum of the training colleges. The national
Educational Conference in 195 1 recommended a wider applica-
tion of the decree and the introduction of Esperanto in all
secondary schools. Esperanto is also taught at Peking Univer-
sity and in the technical schools of Hankow, Canton, Peking.
Shanghai, Hangchow. The Ministry of Education sent an offi-
cial delegate to the International Conference at Geneva on
Esperanto in Schools.
In Spain, the sovereign, H. M. King Alfonso, takes a personal
interest in the development of Esperanto. In 1909, the Spanish
Government sent an invitation through diplomatic channels to
all European States to send official representatives to the Sixth
Universal Conference at Barcelona, and the King conferred upon
Dr. Zamenhof the honour of Commander of the Order of Isa-
bella. A Ministerial Decree of July 27th, 1911, recognised Espe-
ranto as an optional subject in higher and secondary instruction
and the knowledge of Esperanto as a special merit for candidates
to official posts. It has been taught in the training colleges at
Madrid, Zaragossa, and Huesca since 1919.
In Madrid, the Police Authorities have Esperanto taught in
the Police School, as is done in Brunswick, Dresden, Edin-
burgh and Lisbon, where the police sergeants are trained to help
foreigners in the streets. Courses are given by associations and
popular universities in 3r towns, and the language is taught as
an optional subject in Valencia at the School of Music, the Arts
and Crafts School and the University (Institute de Idiomas), in
Barcelona at the University, in two secondary schools and in
Several reviews are published in Esperanto in Spain, and the
King gave his patronage to the Second 'Iberian Esperanto
Congress, held at Zaragossa in 1921. In the same year the
Spanish Esperantists entertained in several towns parties of
starving Austrian children who had learned Esperanto for the
journey and who were .distributed among different families.
Thirty-six Esperanto text-books and nine dictionaries have been
published in Spanish and five textbooks and two dictionaries
— 17 —
In Finland, two long debates were held in Parliament on the
question of an international language. Credits have twice
been voted for promoting the public teaching of Esperanto in
Finland. A proposal also to subsidise Ido was rejected on the
ground that unity and not divergence was to be encouraged in
The Ministerial Decree of 1919 authorises the optional teach-
ing of Esperanto in schools where the authorities may desire
it. Instruction in Esperanto has been introduced into four
primary schools, nine secondary schools and two commercial
schools at Helsingfors, Tampere, Rauma, Mikkeli, Turku, etc.
A course is given at Helsingfors University for the training of
teachers. Esperanto is also taught at the Home for the Blind,
in several Evangelical schools, in the continuation classes of six
towns and in the workers' university in 15 districts. There are
36 local societies for the study of Esperanto, ten of which are
subsidised by the Government. Ten text-books and four
dictionaries have been published in Finnish (107,000 copies).
The Finnish Ministry of Education was represented at the
In France, according to a circular dated June 3rd, 1922, the
teaching of Esperanto is not allowed in schools under the
Ministry of Education. A bill w T as laid before the Chamber in
1907 by 66 deputies, but it has not 3'et been discussed. A
petition was presented in 192 1 by 25 members of the French
Academy of Science asking that Esperanto should be taught in
technical schools. The Paris Chamber of Commerce appointed
a Committee in 1920 to examine the problem and unanimously
adopted its conclusions on February 9th, 192 1 (See Annex 2).
As a result, Esperanto has been taught since 1921-22 at the
High School of Practical Commerce and Industry and in the
commercial schools at Paris, and will be taught from 1922-23
onwards at the "Ecole des Hautes etudes comme resales". Asso-
ciation courses are held in 55 towns, and eight Esperanto
dictionaries and 38 text-books have been published in French,
of which the four most widely known have been printed to the
extent of 450,000, 89,000, 40,000 and 25,000 copies respectively.
The Esperanto movement has received encouragement from
the French Touring Club, the French Society for the Advan-
cement of Science, the French Maritime League and numerous
Chambers of Commerce; it has been supported by writers such
as Tristan Bernard, Francois Coppee, Leon Frapie, Victor Mar-
gueritte, Georges Ohnet; by statesmen such as Chaumet, Des-
champs, Justin Godard, Sembat, Steeg (former Ministers),
Herriot, Mayor of Lj^ons, Painleve (former Prime Minister);
by 25 Members of the Academy of Science, such as Professor
— 18 -
d'Arsonval, Prince Roland Bonaparte, General Bourgeois, the
Prince of Monaco, Professor Charles Richet, Dr. Roux, General
Sebert and by well-known aviators and business men such as
Farman, (Juinton, Archdeacon, Michelin, etc. The important
part played by Fiance in the progress of Esperanto and two
instances of official support in 1905 and 1916 have already been
mentioned on page 5.
In Great Britain, where the Thirteenth National Esperanto
Congress was held under the patronage of the Duke of Con-
naught and the Lord Mayor of London, Esperanto is taught as
a compulsory subject in 13 primary schools at Barry, Bed worth.
Coatbridge, Eccles, Huddersfield, Keighley, Leeds, Leigh,
Liverpool, Rosyth, Stroud, Tottenham and Worcester and in
four secondary schools of Bishop Auckland, Bournemouth,
Burntisland and Kilsyth, and as an optional subject in the
continuation courses in 20 towns. There are unofficial evening
classes in schools in 100 towns. Esperanto is also taught in the
labour colleges in Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow and in
the Home for the Blind in Birmingham and Edinburgh.
The London Chamber of Commerce holds examinations and
grants diplomas in Esperanto.
According to the very full report which the British Minister
of Education has furnished to the Secretariat of the League of
Nations, authority to introduce Esperanto into the curriculum
as an experiment was asked for by a few municipal education
authorities, and this was granted.
The Commission on Modern Languages appointed by the
Prime Minister in 1918 emphasised the advantages of an arti-
ficial international language, the stability of which might be
secured by an international agreement. The teaching of Espe-
ranto in the secondary school at Bishop Auckland, which is a
school subsidised by the Ministry of Education, was authorized
by the Ministry as an experiment in training for the study of
Twenty-seven Esperanto text-books and eight dictionaries
have been published in English, and 661,000 copies have been
sold. There have appeared in Great Britain 124 works in Espe-
ranto, including six original novels, the New Testament, the
Bible, a Psalter, and 40 translations of English works. The
number of adults who have learned Esperanto is estimated
A petition to the League of Nations was signed hy 1,250
persons of eminence, members of both Houses of Parliament,
lords and ladies, judges, lord mayors, lord provosts, mayors,
university professors, etc. Esperanto has received public
encouragement in England from such men as Lord Bryce, Sir
William Ramsay, Lord Robert Cecil, Sir Robert Baden-Powel,
Sir William Maxwell, Lord Shaw of Dunfermline, Arthur Hen-
derson, H. G. Wells, Israel Zangwill, etc.
In Italy , Esperanto is taught optionally in six naval colleges
as the result of a circular from the Naval Ministry dated
November 21st, 192 1.
The Municipalities of Milan, Bologna, and Cremona have
introduced it as an optional subject in their primary schools
and the Municipality of Cologna-Veneta in its technical school.
At Milan, the teaching of Esperanto began in 1920, and the
Municipal Council has definitely decided to maintain it, since
two-thirds of the parents desire to have their children taughi
that language. There were in 1921-1922, 54 classes with 2,000
pupils in the fifth and sixth divisions (10 to 12 years of age)
At Bologna, in 1921-1922, teaching began in -four classes with
200 pupils, and at Cremona in the same year in 10 classes with
225 pupils of the same age as at Milan.
In evening classes and popular universities in Italy there
have been 350 courses of Esperanto during the winter 192 1-
1922. Eighteen Esperanto text-books and five dictionaries
have been published in Italian, and 13,697 persons have learned
Esperanto in public classes. It is estimated that there are only
300 qualified professors and teachers, whereas at least 1,000
would be required to meet present needs. The Ministries of
the Navy and of Education were represented at the Geneva
Conference. The question was raised in Parliament on June
3rd, and On. de Giovani asked the Government to promote an
international conference or agreement to introduce Esperanto
as a compulsory subject in schools everywhere.
In Japan, two petitions signed by eminent university
professors and diplomatists recommending the introduction of
Esperanto in the educational curriculum have been considered
by Parliament, which granted the second petition and
recommended the Ministry of Public Instruction to take the
necessary measures to that effect.
Up to now, Esperanto has been taught in the college of
Seikei near Tokyo, at the high school for teachers at
Hiroshama, at the High School of Yokosuka; and in association
courses in about forty towns. There are groups of Esperant©
students in six national colleges, two public middle-schools,
two higher commercial schools, one elementary commercial
school, two technical schools, four government universities,
eleven private universities and three private middle-schools.
— 20 —
Among well-known Esperantists may be mentioned Mr. Kroita,
Professor of Literature at the Imperial University in Tokyo,
and Mr. Nakamoura, Director of the Central Meteorological
Observatory. Baron Goto, Mayor of Tokyo and former Minister
for Foreign Affairs, is a patron of the movement.
The Finnish Minister in Japan, M. Ramstedt, uses Esperanto
to lecture on his country in the principal towns of the Empire.
Several reviews are published in Esperanto in Japan, and five
Esperanto text-books and two dictionaries have appeared in
In the Netherlands, the new Education Act authorises the
optional teaching of supplementary subjects. By virtue of this
enactment, Esperanto is taught in a seventh class of the pri-
mary schools at Haarlem, in a sixth at De Ryp and in a seventh
at Ootmarsum. If is also taught at the Home for the Blind at
Grave, and in 32 private schools in the southern provinces,
sometimes as a compulsory subject. The majority of these
schools are Catholic boarding schools.
The Municipality of The Hague provides for instruction in
Esperanto in its evening classes, as also the Popular Univer-
sities at Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Courses are held at com-
mercial associations or institutes in ninety-five towns, and
the Dutch Esperanto Association has awarded diplomas to
118 teachers. The representative of the Netherlands Ministry
of Education at the Conference on Esperanto in Schools stated
that the number of qualified teachers was 250.
The Postal and Telegraph Department allows a notice to be
placed on the counters, at which there is a clerk who can speak
Esperanto, and the Tramway Company at The Hague grants a
bonus to those of its employees who learn that language.
Twenty-nine' Esperanto text-books and five dictionaries have
been issued in Dutch by different publishers.
In Portugal, the very interesting report forwarded to us by
the Government of that Republic shows that the Ministry of
Education, on the recommendation of the Director-General of
Higher Education, has established an official Esperanto exami-
nation committee. Since 1917, the Ministries of War and Navy
authorise candidates who have obtained the Esperanto diploma
to wear a special badge on their uniform. A ministerial decree
has introduced the teaching of Esperanto in the Ferreira-Borges
School and in the Police School at Lisbon.
Esperanto was recognised as the official language at the
Lisbon Exhibition side by side with the national language,
and it is taught at the Commercial Athenaeum, at the Free
— 21 —
University, at the Association of Primary School Teachers, at
the Geographical Society and in almost all workers' clubs in
The Government report states that pupils learn the language
very quickly, and are generally able to read, write and speak
it sufficiently well to make themselves understood after twenty-
Eleven Esperanto text-books and four dictionaries have been
published in Portuguese.
hi Switzerland, no central educational authority exists; every
Canton is autonomous in this respect. In 1921-1922, the Board
of Education in the Republic and Canton of Geneva introduced
compulsory instruction in Esperanto as an experiment in the
final-year of the primary schools. There are thirteen classes
with four hundred pupils of both sexes (from thirteen to
fourteen 3-ears of age).
Esperanto is taught in a social school for women at Geneva,
in a seminary at Zug, in a private school at Zurich, in a college
at Schwytz, and in evening classes held by commercial and
other associations in nineteen towns.
In Czechoslovakia, a Ministerial Decree of March 29th, 1921,
authorises the optional teaching of Esperanto in the schools
where qualified teachers exist. Ihe local educational autho-
rities have received orders to make suggestions j submitting at
the same time details of the proposed curriculum and of the
qualifications of the teaching staff available. In 1919, 1920, and
192 1, instruction in Esperanto -had already been given in fifteen
primary schools to 450 pupils, in three secondary schools to
325 pupils, and in a professional school to 40 pupils. The
Ministry has approved two official text-books in Czech and in
German, and it has appointed three examiners (two Czech-
speaking and one German-speaking). Fifteen other Esperanto
text-books and six dictionaries have been published in the
Czech language. The curriculum of the commercial schools
which appeared in the Ministerial Bulletin of May 15th, 1921,
includes two hours of Esperanto a week. As an experiment,
the Ministry also authorised on September 15th, 192 1, the
optional teaching of Ido in the commercial schools "if a
qualified teacher was available and if the pupils preferred to
learn that language", but no names were entered and
consequently no course was held except at Horice in one school.
Esperanto is now taught officially in the commercial schools of
Brunn, Beroun, Horice, Libelee, Pilsen and Zatec, the number
of students in each class varying from 21 to 54.
— 22 —
Iu Czechoslovakia, Esperanto is very widely used. ^ There
are Esperanto groups in all the towns and even in the villages.
The Universal Congress at Prague was held under the patronage
of the Government, and Dr. Benes declared, in an official
message, that the Government regarded Esperanto a- an
important factor in civilisation and in the pacification of the
world. The Ministry of Education was represented at the
Geneva Conference. The Postmaster-General had a list drafted
of all officials knowing Esperanto, and the Board of State
Railways grants them advantages. Eight periodical gazettes
are published in Esperanto in Czechoslovakia.
Apart from the States Members of the League of Nations at
the date of this report, there are other countries where
Esperanto is officially taught.
In Germany, the Ministries of Education iu the states of
Brunswick, Hesse and Saxony have taken decisions in support
of Esperanto. In 1920-1921, it was introduced by the municipal
authorities as a compulsory subject in the primary schools of
five towns, and as an optional subject in the primary schools
of thirty-nine towns, in the secondary schools of nine towns,
in the technical and commercial schools of thirteen towns, and
in the continuation courses in forty-four towns. In 1922, it
was introduced in the State schools of fifty-two new districts,
i.e., in 162 towns in all including Breslau, Chemnitz, Dresden,
Leipzig, and Nuremberg. It is taught in the Homes for the
Blind in three towns.
The German Ministry of the Interior has given official
recognition to the National Esperanto Institute at Leipzig for
training the teaching staff. State examiners have been
appointed in eighteen towns, and the number of teachers of
Esperanto in Germany is 630.
According to the official report forwarded to us by the repre-
sentative of the Ministry of the Interior at the Geneva Confe-
rence, courses in Esperanto for adults are held in 211 towns,
and there are 279 Esperanto groups, ninety of' which are
During the winter 1921-1922, 1,592 courses were held in
Germany, attended by 40,256 adults, of whom 20,456 w T ere
The number of persons who have learned the language up to
1922 is estimated at 120,000. Forty-nine Esperanto text-books
and eighteen dictionaries have been published in German.
Rather more than 600,000 copies of the text-books have been
In Hungary, a Ministerial Decree of October 13th, 1920, autho-
rises the optional teaching of Esperanto in the secondary
schools. Two courses for teachers have been held at Budapest
The Municipality of Budape# has authorised six public
courses in the educational establishments of the capital
There are sixteen Esperanto groups in Budapest and its suburbs
and twenty-five in the provinces. The number of persons who
have learned the language is estimated at 50,000. Twenty-two
Esperanto text-books and six dictionaries have appeared in
Hungarian. Forty-three works have been published in Espe-
ranto in Hungary, twenty-one of which were translations of the
classics of Hungarian literature and an anthology of Croat wri-
ters. The poet Kalocsay has published original works in Espe-
ranto. Esperanto is taught to police sergeants, postmen, and
blind students of the Home for the Blind in Budapest. The
State has printed Esperanto text-books for the blind in braille
at its own cost. Since 1918, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs
has published several booklets in Esperanto, including a work
on the "Economic Unit}- of Hungary", in order to make the
situation of the country known abroad. An appeal published
in the foreign Esperantist press resulted in the receipt of
100,000 crowns for the starving children in Budapest.
In a discussion between the Hungarian and Czechoslovak
Academies of Sciences, Esperanto was used as the language for
official correspondence. The question of Esperanto in relation
to e lucational reform was raised in Parliament by the Prelate
Giesswein, leader of the Social Christian Part)-.
In Russia, the People's Commissariat for Education appointed
a commission in January 191Q to examine the question of tea-
ching an international language in the schools. The commis-
sion, after examining Esperanto and Ido, decided in favour of
Esperanto and of its introduction in the educational curri-
culum. II would appear that political circumstances have since
then delayed the putting into force of this decision. Some
Esperanto courses have been held at Moscow, Petrograd, and
several towns, but it is difficult to obtain exact information on
Before the war, the number of Esperantists in Russia was
le. It was estimated at 80,000. At Saratow, the pri-
vate library of an Esperantist containing four thousand volumes
has been nationalised ; three State officials are entrusted with
Thirty-two Esperanto text-books and ten dictionaries have
appeared in Russian. Translations have been published in
Esperanto of the chief works of Tchekow, Garschm, Gogol,
Gorki, Krilow. Lerrnontov, Pushkin, Tolstoy, Turguenev, and
original works of the poets Dewjatnin, George Deshkm and
Romano Frenkell. In the Siberian Republic, at Tchita, an art
review is published in Esperanto.
In Siberia, on the recommendation of twenty-eight members
of Parliament, a member of the Government, several writers
and scholars, and the President of the Union of Transbaikalian
Teachers, the Government of the Republic of the Far East
decided to introduce the optional teaching of Esperanto in the
schools, and with that object in view, sent a circular, dated
February 17th, 1922, to all the local Commissariats of Public
Education and to the Central Educational Administration of the
In 1910, the Government of Samos, in the .Egean, introduced
the teaching of Esperanto in the primary schools of the island
by a Decree dated November 20th, 1910. The Senate of the
State of Maryland in the United States introduced this subject
into the educational curriculum. In the same year, at the Sixth
Universal Esperanto Congress at Washington, presided over by
Mr. John Barrett, Director of the International Bureau of the
American Republics, the Governments of Brazil, Equador,
United States, Guatemala, China, Spain, Honduras, Costa Rica,
Mexico, Persia, Russia and Uruguay sent official representa-
Since 1918, the New York Chamber of Commerce has taught
Esperanto in its courses.
Results of Teaching.
The Secretariat lias received most interesting reports from
various Ministries of Education with regard to the results
obtained by teaching Esperanto in schools. An important
memorandum has been supplied by the British Board of Edu-
cation, which replied to the questionnaire by sending two
reports prepared especially and independently of one another
by two school inspectors of His Majesty's Government.
On account of the difficulty in reproducing accurately the
general tenour of the British memorandum and reports by
means of extracts, these documents have been printed in full
as an annex to this report and will repay careful examination.
(See Annex 3.)
The reports that we have received from other ministries of
public education confirm and emphasise most of the remarks
made in the documents mentioned above \ Several of these
reports insist upon the great moral influence exercised on the
children by correspondence with school-children of other coun-
tries and by the use of Esperanto, which develops their interest
in foreign nations, their taste for geography and history, and
often even a spirit of international service and of huinan solida-
rity, regarding which remarkable examples have been commu-
nicated to us. Many teachers make use of the Esperanto
1 The reply of the Government of Latvia to the Secretariat states :
"By the study of Esperanto, the pupils learn the construction of Indo-
European languages. Being a logical language, Esperanto helps, even
more than Latin, to develop logical thought. Two lessons per week
for one term of six months are necessary to give the pupils a working
knowledge of Esperanto and enable them to use it. It was observed
that the study of Esperanto helped to leara German, French and
— 2G —
lesson to make the children interested in the League of Nations
and its great ideal of universal peace and co-operation.
At the International Conference of Experts which met at the
Secretariat, the reports of Scottish and Italian school authorities
pointed out that the vast majority of poor children could not
hope to study foreign languages and that it gave them pleasure
and a feeling of pride to be able at least to write and to speak
Esperanto, which gave them a wider outlook on the world.
In the elementary schools in Milan, the children were made to
read anthologies of the fables and legends of different peoples.
In Czechoslovakia, school-children exchanged drawings,
stamps, descriptions and maps with children in other countries.
They explained the spelling of their mother-tongue to each
other. (For the memorial from International Conference, see
The Oriental delegates pointed out that Esperanto provided
the pupils in their countries with a simplified type of European
language which gave them a key to understanding the others.
A young Chinese could learn Esperanto in two years, while he
needed six to learn English and still longer to learn French.
Students sent to the Franco-Chinese Institute at Lyons,
knowing nothing but Esperanto, very quickly learnt French
In most cases it has been found advantageous to have Espe-
ranto taught in the last years of the elementary schools as a
first, foreign language ; pupils who are unable to continue then-
studies are at least in possession of a second language which
may be of practical use to them. Those who are able to pass
on to the secondary schools have had in its study an opportu-
nity of estimating their capacity for languages. Those who
have a gift for languages can go forward with their minds
better prepared. Those who have not can give their time to
other studies better suited to them. Time is gained in both
cases. These are the conclusions arrived at by the Technical
International Conference of Educational Authorities.
In regard to adults, the Ministerial Reports received state
that in Slav, Germanic and Latin countries, the public courses
in Esperanto generally consist of from 20 to 30 lessons ; in Far-
Eastern countries of from 50 to 60 lessons. In Germany and
in Spain, where there are many Trade Union courses, manual
labourers, knowing only their mother- tongue, manage to speak
Esperanto at the end of a winter's course, working two evenings
a week. Of course, everything depends on the keenness and
intelligence of the pupil. Some Esperantists make the mistake
of exaggerating the easiness of the language. It may, however,
be stated with perfect truth that Esperanto is eight or ten times
easier than any foreign language and that it is possible to learn
to speak it perfectly without leaving one's own country. That
in itself is a very appreciable result.
Practical use of Esperant
According to the incomplete statistics which we have been
able to compile, about four million Esperanto text-books have
been sold throughout the whole world, and there must be
nearly seven hundred thousand adults who have followed Espe-
ranto courses. If we include the people who learn Esperanto
at school, this number must have increased in 1922 by about
one hundred thousand, and there is reason to suppose that this
increase will be greater every yea-.
On the other hand, the war and the universally high death-
rate must have reduced by about half the number of Esperan-
tists who were in existence before 1914. It is therefore rather
difficult to fix even an approximate figure for the Esperanto
public. It is probable that out of one hundred persons who
have learnt the language there are not half-a-dozen who are
members of Esperanto propaganda societies. The total number
of foreigners who belong to English or French clubs abroad is
also not very great. In many towns this number is far smaller
than that of the Esperantists of the local societies which have
often 150 to 200 active members. Only enthusiasts join, and
the national Esperantp associations onlv include the propagan-
The practical use of Esperanto is assisted by the remarkable
work of the "Universala Esperanto Asocio", the branches of
which are spread over five parts of the world like a spider's
web. This organisation has delegates in a thousand towns of
39 countries. Every year it publishes a year-book with an
alphabetical list of the towns and the addresses of the represen-
tatives there. The latter, who more or less act as Esperanto
consuls, supply any information which may be required, act as
— 28 —
intermediaries in negotiations, meet travellers at the stations or
act as guides in showing them round the district.
For instance, the delegate of a small town received in a
month 72 letters in Esperanto coming from 26 different coun-
tries. He rendered commercial assistance in 22 cases. He
answered three requests for information in the case of tourists,
two enquiries as to hotels, four with regard to the cost of living,
five with regard to public or boarding schools, two with regard
to interned persons who had disappeared, three on questions of
law, or voting, and seven on questions of labour and wages.
He met 18 persons at the station and showed 12 round the
town. A member of the U.E.A. can, his year-book in hand,
obtain information with regard to all countries, get into touch
with people everywhere by correspondence or when travelling.
If he applies to the representative of the U.E.A. in any town,
the latter can put him into touch with Esperantists in different
circles, even if that language is not generally spoken in the
town. Several cases have been brought to our notice of lectur-
ers who have gone on tours lecturing in Esperanto, and who
in many towns have collected audiences of from 100 to 2,000.
It is clear that if Esperanto were taught in all schools, those
speaking it would be understood everywhere by the whole
population, whereas at present only a very small part of the
public uses it. It must be admitter, however, that even under
present conditions this language can be of very great service,,
thanks to its practical organisation and to the fact that it has
spread to most countries of the world. In almost all towns of
the world there are people who know Esperanto. A merchant
in a little town in Sweden, for instance, receiving a letter in
Esperanto from Brazil or Japan, is more certain of being able
to get it translated on the spot than if it were written in Portu-
guese or in Japanese.
A circular or a pamphlet printed in Esperanto can be circu-
lated throughout the whole world at very slight expense,
without the trouble of translating it into 20 or 30 languages
and of finding agents to distribute it. Almost all international
exhibitions use Esperanto to advertise in foreign countries
and find it profitable to print their prospectuses in that lan-
To our knowledge, this was done in the case of the Exhibi-
tions at Paris, Lyons, Leipzig, Frankfurt, Basle, Padua, Lisbon,
Bratislaw, Bordeaux, Breslau, Barcelona, Malmoe, Prague,
Vienna, Reichenberg, and Helsingfors. For these exhibitions',
Esperanto was used in correspondence; seven of them estab-
lished an Esperanto section.
In 1921, the International Labour Office made a small experi-
ment. It published in Esperanto three documents on its
work and organisation and had them distributed by the repre-
sentatives of the U.E.A. The result was the appearance in the
daily newspapers of 219 special articles on the International
Labour Office in 21 different languages, cuttings of which were
collected by the International Labour Office. Since that time,
the International Labour Office answers, in Esperanto, letters
which reach it in that language. It has been encouraged in
this practice by the adoption of a recommendation brought
forward at the Third International Labour Conference by
M. Justin Godart, the French delegate, and Mr. Matsumoto,
the Japanese Delegate. The Brazilian Government published
in Esperanto the official documents about its centenary and its
exhibition. We have had before us catalogues in Esperanto
from commercial houses of every kind and from every country.
Esperanto has already attracted the attention of the Chambers
of Commerce, for those of Paris, Beauvais, Beziers, Calais, Gre-
noble, Le Creusot, Lyons, Limoges, Macon, Moulins, Saumur,
St-Omer, Le Treport, Tulle and Tarare (France), Lausanne and
Locarno (Switzerland), London, Bath, Barnsley, Plymouth
fEagland), Cracow (Poland), Cluj (Roumania), Briinn, Bud6-
jovice, Hradec Kralove, Olomouc and Reichenberg (Czechoslo-
vakia), Barcelona and Huesca (Spain), Dresden, Kouigsberg,
Leipzig, Nuremberg, Potsdam (Germany), Sofia (Bulgaria),
Budapest (Hungary), Torino (Italy), Tokio and Yokohama
i Japan), Los Angeles, New York and Washington (United
States of America), Rio de Jcneiro (Brazil), the French
Chamber of Commerce in London, the French Committee of
the International Chamber of Commerce, the Brazilian Commer-
cial Association and the Congress of Australian Commercial Tra-
vellers have taken steps to support Esperanto. There are spe-
cial associations for the spread of Esperanto in commerce in
the Argentine, Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany,
Great Britain, Hungary, Japan, United States of America, Por-
tugal, Sweden and Switzerland. An international review,
Komerca Revuo, is published in Esperanto at Zurich.
Guide-books of almost all the chief towns of the world, and
illustrated books on Touraine, Bosnia-Herzegovina, x-Ugeria,
the Oberland and Scotland, etc., have been published in Espe-
ranto by tourists or local bodies. The important part played by
the Touring Club, of France in introducing Esperanto into that
country is well known. On October, 4th, 1921, the Czecho-
slovak Touring Club adopted it for its foreign propaganda.
The corresponding organisation in Finland has done the same,
and the railway administration of that country has used Espe-
ranto in its time-tables. In Czechoslovakia a circular issued
by the management of the railways offers certain advantages
in respect of wages to employees speaking this language.
International organisations and offices are very specially
— 30 —
interested in the spreading of an auxiliary language; Esperanto
has been adopted or recommended by a number of them 1 .
In the case of most of these offices, the use of Esperanto is
still a novelty. On the other hand, there are international
organisations which are entirely based on Esperanto, and
which publish their review, their bulletin, or their communi-
ques in that language alone. These are the Esperanto associa-
tions of scientists, writers, men of letters, teachers, jurists, doc-
tors, chemists, railway men, government officials, postmen,
policemen, internationalist workers, catholics % free-thinkers,
clergymen, boy scouts, etc. The general assemblies of these
associations have developed the use of spoken Esperanto in
technical discussions. Lectures in Esperanto are given at the
International Universality at Brussels. In 1920, lectures in that
language by Professor Vanverts, of Lille University, on "The
treatment of cancer", and by Dr. Corret on "Wireless tele-
graphy" were attended by large audiences.
It is strange that since 1905 Esperanto should appear to have
become almost more a spoken than a written language. Apart
from the Esperanto universal congresses at Boulogne, Geneva,
Cambridge, Dresden, Barcelona, Washington, Antwerp,
Cracow, Berne, The Hague, Prague and Helsingfors, attended
by a thousand or two thousand persons, every year a whole
series of international or regional meetings are held which are
also often attended by a great number of people and in which
Esperanto is the only language used.
1 The World Union of International Associations, the International
Red Cross Committee, the International Pharmaceutical Federation, the
Young Men's Christian Association (Y.M.C.A.), the International
Women's Suffrage Alliance, the International Bibliographical Institute,
the International Federation of Hatters, the Universal Alliance of Dia-
mond Workers, the International Order of Good Templars Neutral, the
International Catholic League, the Catholic International League of
Youth, the International Bureau of Freemasons, the International Peace
Bureau, the International League of Peace of the White Cross, the
World Union of Women, the International League for the Protection
of the Rights of Peoples. Furthermore, the following organisations admit
the use of this language in their correspondence or their assemblies :
the International Bureau for the Protection of Aborigines, the Inter-
national Bureau of the New Schools, the International Bureau of Spiri-
tism, the International Association of Meeanotherapy, the Postal Inter-
national, the International Congress on Moral Education, the Interna-
tional University, the International Popular College, the Women's Inter-
national League for Peace and Freedom, the International Intermediary
Institute, the International Labour Office.
2 The Esperanto paper Espero Katolika re eived the Pope's blessing
in 1920, and six international catholic congresses were held in Esperanto
under the patronage of well-known cardinals and bishops.
— 31 —
We have witnessed the case of the International Conference
of Educational Authorities at the Secretariat of the League of
Nations in which the debates w r ere in Esperanto. We were
much struck by the ease and rapidity with which delegates from
all countries expressed their ideas and understood each other;
moreover, the discussions were not interrupted by translations.
As many as 32 speakers were heard at the same meeting and
an amount of work was done in three days which might have
taken 10 days to accomplish in an ordinary conference using
several official languages. Of course, the nationality of certain
delegates is sometimes recognised by their accent, but this is
not so in the majority of cases, since the pronunciation of Espe-
ranto, like that of Italian, seems to be much more uniform and
more easily acquired by all nationalities than that of English
or of French, for instance. Anyone who came into the room
without warning would think he was listening to a discussion
in Portuguese or Roumanian.
The unanimity and equality produced in such a meeting by
the use of a common language are very striking. It puts every-
body on the same footing and allows the delegate from Pekin
or The Hague to express himself as forcefully as his colleagues
of Paris or London. Some speakers express themselves with
great eloquence in Esperanto. This frequent us° of Esperanto
as a spoken language has not been without an influence on the
written tongue, which is gradually becoming more flexible.
The object of an international language is obviously not literary,
but people of taste should be able to give it elegance and style.
The library of the Esperantist Central Office in Paris contains
4,000 volumes, and that of the Universala Esperanto Asocio in
Geneva 3,200. Since 1920, on an average, a new book in Espe-
ranto on scientific or other subject appears every other day
Text-books and dictionaries exist in English, Arabic, Arme
nian, Czech, Bulgarian, Danish, Esthonian, Finnish, French
German, Greek, Welsh, Hebrew, Spanish, Dutch, Hungarian
Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Georgian, Catalonian, Chinese
Croat, Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Rouma
nian, Russian, Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Slovakian
Slovenian, Swedish, Turkish and Visayen (Philippine Islands)
Technical dictionaries have been published dealing with ana
tomy, chemistry, mathematics, navigation, -music, photography
pharmaceutics, philately and ornithology, and also an encyclo
pedia and a general technical and technological vocabulary.
The Esperanto Press includes about 100 reviews and perio-
dicals, monthly, fortnightly or weekly, which deal either with
special subjects or with the general interests of Esperanto,
while some are intended to furnish foreigners with information
regarding the resources and the national life of any particular
A special review for the blind is published in raised braille
type and would even appear to be the most widespread of all
newspapers printed in this type, since it is read in all coun-
tries 1 .
Most Esperanto periodicals publish advertisement pages
which show that there exists a certain amount of commercial
intercourse and exchange of transactions of all kinds carried on
through this language. There is therefore a living community
which makes a successful use of a neutral international lan-
guage in its work, its correspondence, and its travels. This
result has taken half a century to produce.
Language is a great force, and the League of Nations has
every reason to watch with particular interest the progress of
the Esperanto movement, which, should it become more wide-
spread, may one day lead to great results from the point of
view of the moral unity of the world.
1 The number of blind persons in each nation is comparatively
small, and publications .in this type are very bulky and expensive to
produce. The blind in small countries have therefore little to read
and few means of learning foreign languages. They are taught Espe-
ranto in the Homes for the Blind in almost all countries and they
pool their resources in order to secure the advantage of a common
newspaper and library in Esperanto. They also correspond with differ-
ent countries and even hold conferences in Esperanto. The Under-
Secretary-General of the League of Nations was present at an
international gathering of the blind at Prague, and several of them
told him how happy they were to have a fresh outlook opened to
them by the use of Esperanto.
Resolutions adopted by the Third Assembly
at its meeting held on thursday september 2ist, 1922.
(Adopted on the report of the Fifth Committee.)
(1). "That the Report of the Secretariat on Esperanto as an
International Auxiliary Language be adopted, subject to the
following amendments :
(a) "That the corrections communicated by the Briti-h Dele-
gation be made and that Chapter V of the Report be
(b) "That an annex be added to the report, consisting of the
whole of the brief and impartial report made by the Paris
Chamber of Commerce on February 9th, 1921, oi which
certain passages only have been quoted."
(c) "That the resolutions adopted b} r the Committee be
annexed to the report."
(2). "That questions relating to the teaching of Esperanto be
referred to the Committee on Intellectual Co-operation, in order
that that Committee may give his opinion on the various aspects
of the problem of an international auxiliary language."
selection and advantages op an international
Report submitted by M. Andre Baudet on behalf of the Commer-
cial Educatioyial Committee, and adopted and converted into
a Resolution by the Paris Chamber of Commerce at its meet-
ing of February gth, 192 1.
The Paris Esperantist Group having referred to the Paris
Chamber of Commerce a request for the support of our Company
for the propagation of Esperanto, particularly by instruction
in this language in our commercial schools, your Bureau
requested the Educational Committee to consider this question ;
the present report presents to you a summary of its work, with
the conclusions reached.
Advantages and Essential Conditions of an International Lan-
guage. — A preliminary question must first be put. Is it advi-
sable to give encouragement to the principle of an international
language? Your Committee has not hesitated to reply in the
affirmative. Commercial transactions, discussions of an eco-
nomic nature in international congresses, negotiations on com-
mercial treaties and customs conventions would undoubtedly be
assisted if all nations adopted a standardised language. The
principle of its expediency being thus recognised, we have only
to consider the conditions with which such a language must
comply in order to guard against all the risks of failure which
may be encountered in taking a step of this importance.
We consider that these conditions ma}' be summed up under
two principal headings :
fi) In the first place it is indispensable that this language
should not be established to the detriment of the French Ian-
— 36 - -
guage, to which we are deeply attached by reason of the
immortal beauties enshrined in their works by the genius of
As an essential corollary of this primary condition, we must,
as ardent advocates of our own native language, respect the
native languages of other nations, also rich in literary master-
The universal language must, therefore, not be a national
The choice of any one national language would arouse strong
opposition on the part of the other nations, and every impartial
judge must admit the absolute impossibility of this solution
of the problem.
The obvious deduction is, therefore, that the universal lan-
guage must be an artificial language. It is noteworthy that,
in 1629,. Descartes had already laid down this principle.
This language must be regarded as a tool, as a "code" to be
used as a method of interpretation by the nations. For this
reason, your Committee attaches great importance to the name
"auxiliary" with which it would wish the international lan-
guage to be always qualified, as national languages must not
be affected in any way.
(2) This auxiliary language must be clear, easy to learn and
sufficiently rich in vocabulary to express all shades of human
Esperanto. — Does the artificial language known as Espe-
ranto comply with the second category of conditions ? It is
impossible to reply to this question without profound study of
the language. A Sub-Committee of five has been entrusted by
the Education Committee with the task of considering this lan-
guage thoroughly. This body has not shrunk from the task
of reading numerous documents upon the value of Esperanto
and also of learning its grammar. It is only just to add that
this grammar is so simple that the careful study of a small
book is sufficient to acquire all the rules perfectly in a few
The Sub-Committee then got into touch with M. Rollet de
l'lsle, President of the Paris Esperantist Group, and an enquiry
was undertaken, the results of which we will endeavour to
summarise in a few words.
After an unsatisfactory experiment in Volapuk, the difficult
vocabulary of which explains its lack of success, a Pole,
Dr. Zamenhof, an enthusiast for the idea of an international
— 37 —
language, was inspired about 1887 to create one upon extremely
logical ^principles. He gave long study to a comparison of the
vocabularies of existing languages, and constructed Esperanto,
taking for each word the root used in the majority of these
The result has been that the roots in the words of each Euro-
pean language are found in Esperanto in the proportion of
nearly 75 %.
The grammar consists of 16 rules with no exceptions ; all
verbs may be conjugated by learning 12 terminations. From
the point" of view of instruction it is impossible to emphasise
too much the difference between the simplicity of this language
and the difficulty experienced by pupils when learning the irre-
gularities of the English and French verbs and the exceptions
to all the rules.
Impressed by the simplicity of the vocabulary and the
grammar, the Committee still felt some anxiety as to the pro-
The pronunciation of Esperanto is entirely phonetic, the
alphabet includes 28 letters, each of which corresponds to one
sound and one only, and vice-versa ; iS of these letters are iden-
tical as regards pronunciation with the corresponding letter of
our alphabet. The tonic accent always rests on the penulti-
mate syllabe. The question, however, arises whether, in spite
of the simplicity of this idea, the various nations might not
pronounce Esperanto in a manner quite incomprehensible to
the others. Experience has, however, shown that differences in
accent are so light as to be unnoticeable. M. Rollet de l'lsle
relates the fallowing incident in this connection :
In 191 1, at the Antwerp Congress, 800 Esperantists were pre-
sent, belonging to 42 different nations. The nationality of each
speaker in Esperanto had to be ascertained, as it was impos-
sible to recognise it from his speech.
A final question remains for decision : Does Esperanto permit
the expression of all the inflections of human thought?
The Sub-Committee did not wish to deal lightly with this
delicate problem, and has made the following statement : It
is universally recognised that the French language is the
richest in expression and the most precise of all the national
languages. If, therefore, a French text translated into Espe-
ranto and re-translated into French is still in no way deformed,
it may be stated that the auxiliary language has real value
from this point of view.
Experiments were made by the Chamber of Commerce on
December 30th, 1920.
Three texts were selected by the Sub-Committee in a style
— 38 —
so precise that the slightest modification might completely alter
They consisted of an arbitration regulation, a power of ad-
ministration and a certificate of sale of a very exact type.
They were translated into Esperanto in our presence by two
Esperantists ; these two were then replaced by two others who
carried out the reverse operation.
The new French text, although it did not repeat the exact
wording of the original text, reproduced its exact meaning in
such a manner that the double transposition was unanimously
considered to have made no alteration in the meaning of the
agreements upon which the experiment had been made.
The unanimous conclusion of the Sub-Committee was that
your Rapporteur was able to assure the Education Committee
that, "as far as it was possible to judge by investigation and
experiments, Esperanto possessed the qualities of precision, of
clearness and facility which are required of an international
The Development of Esperanto. — In view of such resolu-
tions, the Education Committee could not adopt an entirely
neutral attitude to this question.
It considers that the Paris Chamber of Commerce, faithful to
its traditional devotion to progress, should respond to the appeal
made for its assistance in the development of an instrument of
international exchange of such value as that offered by a
universal conventional language.
It could not but be impressed by the importance of the move-
ment, which is gradually gaining support for the Esperanto
language in all parts of the world.
The growing number of supporters have met at several
important congresses. The tenth, convened for that disastrous
day, August 2nd, 1914, would certainly have proved a finer
manifestation of the solidarity of mankind than the scourge let
loose on that same day by a nation now completely vanquished.
This defeated nation, however, has not failed to avail itself
of the advantages of making use of the benefits to its commer-
cial expansion derived from the use of an international lan-
guage. Great importance should be attached to the fact that a
number of documents have been issued in Esperanto, inviting
the buyers of the entire world to the Frankfort Fair of 1920 and
the Leipzig Fair of 192 1.
We hasten to add that France has not been backward in
taking a similar step, and that the Organizing Committee of the
Paris Fair has just decided to issue invitations in Esperanto
for the May Fair of 192 1.
— 39 —
The terrible experiences of the war would in any case have
emphasized how important it is that the Allies should be able
to understand each other at the numerous meetings where
questions most vital to the future of the nations are discussed
under great difficulties.
If the speakers were able to express themselves in a language
understood by all their colleagues, the delegates would have
been able to simplify and shorten the discussions, the multiple
translation of which has too often delayed a solution and pre-
vented a final conclusion, to the great prejudice of the rights
to be defended.
This, it appears, begins now to be realized; in our country,
the most illustrious names in science, industry and education
are supporting this movement, which is becoming world-wide.
It is sufficient for us to quote, among-many others, MM. Appell,
Archdeacon, D'Arsonval, Aulard, Daniel Berthelot, Prince
Roland Bonaparte, Esnault-Pelleterie, Farman, Michelin, Colo-
nel Renard, Charles Richet, Roblin, General Sebert.
The ingenious nature of the language has even attracted
certain mathematical minds, some of whom have endeavoured
to carry the instrument to a further degree of perfection.
From this was born the offshoot known as "Ido", which gave
the Education Committee some anxiety. It soon, however,
became clear that this so-called perfection was only a further
complication, which has delayed the development of Esperanto
by causing confusion in the public mind.
It is, however, only logical to agree that only by the adoption
of unchangeable rules, such as those of Esperanto, it is possible
to obtain that uniformity in the language which is essential.
This language is to some extent like a telegraphic code or a
system of shorthand. It cannot be called perfect, since it has
been devised by the human mind, but it may by said emphati-
cally that, if its use is to be assured, it must be employed in
its present form.
However, all these experiments and imitative efforts, and
even the passionate sentiments they involve, prove to what a
degree the various nations feel the necessity of a unified lan-
The movement is at present astir in Japan and Czechoslo-
vakia. In Asia the desire for such a language represents the
realization of the necessity to assimilate European civilizations
while avoiding the domination by any one nation whose lan-
guage becomes preponderant.
As we read quite recently in the newspaper, Spain . gives a
noteworthy example. Saragossa University, which is respon-
sible for the Government schools in the province of Aragon, has
— 40 —
lateiy authorised a course in Esperanto in the Normal School
under its control. The Chamber of Commerce in the same
province has also sent a circular to all Spanish Chambers of
Commerce, drawing their attention to the advantages of Espe-
The London Chamber of Commerce gives a diploma, and
since 1916 has held an examination in Esperanto, as in other
The New York State Chamber of Commerce has, since 1918,
included Esperanto among the four commercial languages in
which it holds examinations.
Finally, many French and foreign Chambers of Commerce
take an interest in the language, either by making grants of
money or by organising propaganda tours.
Conclusion. — The consideration of the whole striking facts
led the Education Committee to think that the Paris Chamber
of Commerce could not overlook a movement which may be of
invaluable aid in international transactions.
The point of view taken by the Committee in proposing the
action which it thinks advisable in the questions is mainly a
If this action is to produce results, it must be comprehensive
enough to appeal to our commercial schools.
The objection may be made that it would be disadvantageous
to these schools, whose programmes of work are already very
full, if they were to compel their students to devote a part of
their time to the study of a language which is not likely to be
widely used for many years, however universal it may even-
Our answer is twofold. First, those nations and those
peoples who are first able to make use of new methods are
also the first to reap the fruits of these methods.
Secondly, we have no intention of causing difficulties in the
education of our pupils. The teaching ability of French head-
masters is known to everyone, and they will be able to decide
whether this new subject of education should, at the beginning,
be optional or not. They will in any case know what amount
of time, in proportion to the other items on the curriculum,
should be given to this new subject. It will certainly be very
It is easy to mould the intellect of youth, and the addition
of Esperanto to the educational curriculum may develop the
most brilliant and varied talents.
— 41 —
Further, we cannot leave unmentioned an argument in favour
of the teaching of Esperanto which deserves consideration : the
value of this language for the study of French.
Esperanto contains no idioms and necessitates clarity of
expression. Further, as we have seen, its vocabulary clearly
shows up the structure of a very large number of French words.
Esperanto will be a substitute for Latin for most young
persons who cannot learn the latter language, the study of
which must unfortunately be restricted to a chosen few; for
the pupil will be obliged to give attention to the roots of words
and their derivatives and to pay attention to the comparative
value of the expressions he uses.
Obviously, there are certain prejudices to be overcome; some
will allege that it would be better to wait for others to begin.
The same kind of thing was said about the telephone and
about all other innovations; it is, of course, to be feared that
our endeavours may remain fruitless if only the pupils show,
It should not be forgotten that we must not be content with
merely noting progress made and adapting ourselves thereto.
Our chief duty is to sow the seed and to spread Esperanto
throughout the world.
An International Chamber of Commerce has been established
for the purpose of co-ordinating and diffusing any fruitful ideas
among the peoples thirsting for the Gospel of Peace. We may
ask ourselves, then, whether we are justified, should we think
the use of an auxiliary language desirable, in supposing that
this body cannot hasten the dissemination in other countries of
a method of "mutual understanding" which may perhaps put
an end to misunderstandings and may certainly do much to
facilitate the world's commercial business.
On the above grounds, the Committee proposes that the
Chamber of Commerce take the following decision :
"Considering that the business of the whole world would be
greatly facilitated by the use of an auxiliary international lan-
"And that there would be no question of prejudicing the use
of national languages and, particularly, of the French language,
whose literature is intimately bound up with French history
and is rich in imperishable masterpieces;
"And that the auxiliary language should rather be
established as a sort of international language code for purposes
of interpretation among the nations, and for this reason should
be able to be acquired with ease and rapidity;
"And that Esperanto seems to combine, in a methodical man-
ner, the desirable qualities of clearness and simplicity, as
regards both pronunciation and grammar, vocabulary and rich-
ness of expression;
"The Paris Chamber of Commerce :
"(i) Decides to introduce the teaching of Esperanto, as
an optional subject, in its commercial schools ;
"(2) Recommends that such instruction become general
in France and abroad, and that the Chambers of Commerce
in all countries which are anxious to facilitate commercial
operations should encourage the rapid dissemination of the
auxiliary international language."
(Resolution adopted on February gth, 1921.)
CIRCULAR LETTER AND QUESTIONNAIRE
FORWARDED TO GOVERNMENTS OF STATES MEMBERS
OF THE LEAGUE
LEAGUE OF NATIONS
Geneva, January iyd, 1922.
The Second Assembly of the League of Nations decided, on
September 15th last, to put the question of the teaching of
Esperanto in schools upon the Agenda of the Third Assembly
and to request the Secretary-General to prepare in the mean-
time a complete report, accompanied by the necessary docu-
ments, on the experiments already made and the actual results
attained in this respect.
In order to carry out this work entrusted to the Secretariat
by the recommendation of the Second Assembly, I have the
honour to ask if you would be good enough to inform me with
regard to the public teaching of the auxiliary international
language Esperanto in your country, by replying as fully as
possible to the enclosed questionnaire.
According to the desire expressed by the Second Assembly,
I have the honour to enclose copies of the report of Committee
N° 2 of the First Assembly on the question of an International
Language (Assembly Document 253) and of the Under-Secretary-
General's report on his official mission to the Thirteenth Uni-
versal Esperanto Congress which met at Prague in August 192 1
(A. 72. 1921. XII).
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
For the Secretary-General,
(Signed) INAZO NITOEE,
Questionnaire with regard to the Teaching op Esperanto
i. Has any action been taken by national or local authorities
with regard to Esperanto as an auxiliary international language
(laws, decrees, subsidies, grants, privileges or any other form
of recognition) ?
2. In what schools or institutions is Esperanto taught, and is
it a compulsory or optional subject?
What is the number of classes, students and teachers :
(a) in elementary public schools,
(b) in secondary public schools,
(c) in technical or commercial schools,
(e) in institutions of all kinds (blind asylums, orphanages,
(d) in universities,
(h) in evening classes of any kind ?
(g) in continuation schools,
(/) in private schools of all grades,
3. What are the results of Esperanto teaching in these diffe-
rent schools or institutions ?
If reports have been issued, you are requested to send
4. How many lessons have been found necessary tc enable
the students to acquire a fair knowledge of Esperanto in compa-
rison with foreign languages?
Has Esperanto proved helpful in acquring foreign lan-
What foreingn languages are chiefly taught in State schools?
Reply of British Government to the Questionnaire
Offices of the Cabinet,
2, Whitehall Gardens, S.W.i
April, 21st, 1922.
Reference No. 3S/E/3.
The Acting Secretary to the Cabinet presents his compliments
to the Secretary-General of the League of Nations and, with
reference to M. Nitobe's circular letter No. 5, dated January
23rd last, forwards herewith a copy of a memorandum on the
teaching of Esperanto in England and Wales, prepared by the
Board of Education and containing such information as the
Board possesses on the matters enumerated in the questionnaire
enclosed in the Under-Secretary-General's letter referred to
Memorandum on the Teaching of Esperanto
in England and Wales.
1. In order that the answer to the first question may be made
quite clear, it is necessary to point out that in this country the
central authority, that is, the Board of Education, does not
prescribe in detail a uniform curriculum to be followed by all
schools in receipt of State aid. The dut}' of framing and
controlling the curriculum is vested, subject to the general
supervision of the Board of Education 5 in the local education
authorities,, that is, the councils of counties, boroughs and
urban districts, which are responsible for the maintenance of
The Board of Education has not, in the exercise of its
supervisory powers, required the inclusion of Esperanto as part
of the general course in any kind of school ; but where local
education authorities have submitted to them well-considered
proposals for the inclusion of Esperanto in the curriculum of
a particular school or particular schools — as has, in fact, been
done on several occasions — they have been ready to approve
2. The Board would have been unable to furnish a complete
— 46 —
reply to the second question from its own records, as the
latter contain no particulars of those schools and classes which
are not in receipt of aid from the State. It therefore approach-
ed the British Esperanto Association, which was kind enough
to supply it with the following figures. It will be under-
stood that any discrepancies between the figures given here and
those contained in Report A attached (for which figures alone
the Board is responsible) are due to the fact that the latter refer
only to State-aided schools, and do not include schools and
classes privately conducted. As stated under "h n below, it is
these classes which supply the bulk of the Esperanto teaching
in Great Britain.
(a) Elementary Schools. England and Wales Scotland
Number of Schools .... n 2
» » Classes 28 2
» » Pupils .... 881 90
» » Teachers. ... 27 2
(b) Secondary Schools.
Number of Schools .... 2
» » Classes ....
» » Pupils 43 89
» » Teachers. ... 2 3
(c) Technical and Commercial Schools (Day Schools).
The number of such schools is not large, and, as far as is
known, Esperanto is not included in the curriculum of any.
It is understood that small experimental classes were held at
Manchester University in 1921, but no detailed information is
(e) Institutions (Asylums, etc.).
No pupils this year.
(f) Private Schools of all grades.
Day schools : England and Wales. Scotland
Number of Schools .... 1 —
» » Classes .... 4
» » Pupils 40 —
» » Teachers ... 1 --
(g) Day Continuation Schools.
— 47 —
(h) Evening Sch<.
Public Evening Schools : England and Wales. Scotland
iiber of Schools .... 10 —
» » Classes .... 16 (approx.) —
•» » Pupils 269 »
a » Teachers. ... 10 »
Private Evening Classes. — The bulk of Esperanto teaching
is given in classes formed by local societies or groups, and not
under public control. It appears impossible to obtain anything
more than a rough estimate of these numbers. In England and
Wales there are 92 such groups affiliated to the British Espe-
ranto Association. Thirty students would be a fair average
number of students in each of these groups, and, as some of the
London groups are very large, another 200 might be added.
This gives about 3,000 students of classes attached to groups
in England and Wales. The corresponding figures for Scotland
are 11 groups and 350 students.
Particulars of these public elementary school classes which
have been specially inspected by the Board are contained in
the attached Report A upon "The Teaching of Esperanto in
Public Elementary Schools in England", which has been drawn
up by one of His Majesty's inspectors of schools who has made
a special study of the subject. The later sections of Report A,
together with Report B (written independently by another
of His Majesty's inspectors, equally well qualified to express
an opinion), are forwarded as likely to be of interest to
the Secretariat and affording answers to questions (3) and
(4), together with certain general observations; but they must
not be taken as necessarily expressing the views of the Board
As regards the last question under (4), only in exceptional
circumstances is any language other than English taught in
public elementary schools. In secondary schools, French,
Latin, German and Spanish are the languages most commonly
taught. In technical schools, French, Spanish, German, Ita-
lian and Russian (in order of popularity, French being by far
The Teaching of Esperanto in Public Elementary Schools
in England and Wales
According to the information at present in the possession of
the Board, Esperanto is known to be tanght in the following
i. Barry, Romilly Road Boys' School.
2. Eccles (Patricroft), Green Couneil School.
3. Huddersfield, Beanmont Street Boys' Council School.
4. Leigh (Lancashire), Bedford Road Wesleyan School.
5. Liverpool, Granton Road Boys' Council School.
6. Worcester, St. Paul's Church of England Boys'
Schools 2, 5 and 6 have been specially inspected, and it is on
the results of these special inspections that the notes which
follow have for the most part been based. School 2 appears to
be the pioneer, since the subject was introduced here, through
the enthusiasm of four members of the staff, as long ago as 1916.
The school is a mixed one, and takes older children only.
Esperanto is taken, for two periods of forty-five minutes each
week, by every child in the school. Two of the four original
Esperantists are no longer members of the staff, but the other
five teachers have learnt the language, thus making it possible
for each class to be taught by its own teacher.
Children from this school have been remarkably successful
in winning prizes at various Esperanto competitions.
In School 6, the subject was introduced experimentally in
1920. The school is situated in a very poor district and it was
thought that the introduction of Esperanto might be the means
not only if improvnig the English but of adding a new stimu-
lus to the work generally. Two half-hour periods a week are
given to the subject by all the boys in Standards VI and VII,
and the teaching is entirely in the hands of one teacher, a pro-
minent member of the local branch of the Esperanto Associatioa.
School 5 had on its staff the secretary of the local branch of
the Esperanto Association. It was for this reason that the school
was selected when, early in 1920, 'it was decided to make tke
— 49 -
experiment of teaching the language in one of the Liverpool
schools. Esperanto is taken by boys in Standards VI and VII,
who obtain the written consent of their parents. There are
two classes, each containing from 20 to 30 boys, and both are
taught by the same teacher. Each oi these Esperanto classes
represents about half of the class from which the boys are
selected. No increase of staff, however, has been necessary,
since the Esperanto lessons take place when the other boys are
away at manual instruction. The second-year class devotes
three periods of thirty minutes a week to the subject, and the
first year two periods of forty minutes. The former distribution
of time seems to be the more satisfactory. In none of these
three schools has the introduction of this subject necessitated
any increase in the staff.
In each school the "direct method" is followed, that is to say,
the teacher conducts his lesson and the boys answer questions
as far as possible in Esperanto. There is a good deal of reading
and translation into English, free composition is done, espe-
cially in the form of letters, the grammar teaching is mainly
incidental, and many interesting devices are employed in order
to give life to the lessons. Perhaps the most interesting feature
is the correspondence in Esperanto with children in many parts
•f the world. In Eccles, the local education authority pays the
cost of this correspondence. In Liverpool, the present high cost
of postage has had the effect of considerably reducing its
\olume, Inspectors visiting these classes have been struck by
the enthusiasm of teachers and taught. The latter manifestly
enjoy the sense of power that comes from the rapid mastery of
a new language.
There is, however, little evidence to show that this enthu-
siasm persists after the children leave school. At Eccles, the
local Esperanto group has died of inanition, the boys from
the Green Lane School who are Scouts do not compete for the
Proficiency Badge in Esperanto, and the few Esperanto books
in the public library repose on the shelves practically unread
In Liverpool there is an Esperanto class in one of the evening
schools, but boys cannot join it before the age of 15. The local
Esperanto group conducts a class of its own, which three of
the boys have joined, but it is a class intended primarily for
In considering what place, if any, Esperanto should occupy
in the curriculum of the elementary school, it may be conve-
nient to regard it from three points of view : (1) as a vocational
or utilitarian subject ; (2). as a means of promoting a general
education ; or (3) more specifically as providing some form of
— 50 —
(i) The case for a universal language, especially in commer-
cial intercourse, is so obvious that it need not be laboured.
Human nature, however, being what it is, it would be rash to
prophesy the adoption of such a language, and still rasher to
assign the part to Esperanto.
Esperanto does, however, appear to be slowly making head-
way. It has a larger following than Ido, its offspring and rival.
It is viewed with favour by several international bodies, and
its growth is likely to be fostered by the present struggle for
world peace. It is in fairly extensive use in certain parts of
the world, notably in Germany and Japan, though in England,
as might be expected, its progress is slow.
So far as can be ascertained, there are in Liverpool three
business firms only, and these are not large firms, which make
use of Esperanto.
It cannot therefore be said that there is, or is likely to be in
the near future, such a demand in the commercial world for
Bsperantists as would justify the introduction of the language
into the schools on utilitarian grounds-.
(2) The learning of another language, especially if accompa-
nied by a study of the life and thought of the people who speak
it or spoke it, is among the best means of promoting general
Esperantists claim that their language has a beauty of its
own, rivalling if not exceeding that of Italian. This may be so,
but it is equally possible that its aesthetic may be in inverse
ratio to its commercial value. Its regularity, its logical complete
ness, its lack of ambiguity, make it easy to learn and suitable
for the expression of fact. Such qualities may make it less
suitable for the expression of feeling than a natural language
with its irregularities and subtle associations.
The claim that it opens the door to a great literature cannot
be seriously entertained. No great writer has so far selected
this as a vehicle for the expression of his thoughts. It is said
that, by learning Esperanto, one may gain access to transla-
nons of many famous books from many countries. This might
veil appeal to a native of some small country whose language is
not inextensive use. One could hardly expect an English child
to learn Esperanto in order to read translations of books which,
if not originally written in English, have almost certainly been
translated into English.
It can give no such intimate knowledge of the life and
thought of a particular people as that people's own language
m give, but it is a means of cultivating a nodding acquain-
tance with many peoples. The children im the Worcester
— 51 —
School have corresponded with children in 27 foreign countries,
and the correspondence of the other two schools is little less
This correspondence, it is true, consists for the most part of
the interchange of personal details and picture postcards, but
one might expect that it would at the very least serve as a
valuable incentive to the study of geography.
There appears to be considerable value in the mental stimulus
of learning this language, introduced as it is, at a critical stage
of school life. The teachers have doubtless all the zeal of
pioneers, and children commonly appreciate novelty, but these
children show a joyful readiness to display their powers which
is in strong contrast to the faltering and reluctant efforts of
children of similar standing who have learnt French. It is
significant also that two of the headmasters speak of its effect
in rousing minds of children of less than normal ability.
A child who in a practical way has begun to enter into
a language and a method of thought different from his own has
(3) It is claimed that Esperanto has peculiar value as a basis
for the study of English or of foreign languages.
It was introduced experimentally into the Girls' Secondary
School at Bishop Auckland, and an attempt was made to assess
its value as a preparation for French and German. The results
were inconclusive. The girls who had learnt Esperanto made
more rapid progress in French than those who had learnt no
foreign language, but the reverse happened in the case of
German. This may have been due to the greater resemblance
of Esperanto to French than to German, or it may have been
due to differences of ability among the girls.
In any case, it would be of doubtful advantage to introduce
Esperanto into the elementary school on the ground that it
will enable the children to learn other languages. Foreign
languages are learnt by comparatively few children whose full-
time education has ceased at the age of fourteen, and nearly
all the children in the three schools mentioned above are beyond
the normal age of entry to the secondary school. It is sug-
gested in some quarters that Esperanto should be begun as
early as Standard I, but the ease with which the language can
be acquired makes so early a beginning unnecessary. Nor
would it be sound policy to teach it an earlier age than 11 or
12 simply for the sake of the small proportion of children who
go on to secondary schools.
As a means of improving the English in elementary scnools,
its claims deserve serious consideration. Unfortunately, no
— 52 —
systematic attempt has been made to ascertain whether children
who have learnt Esperanto are actually better at English than
those who have not, and, if so, to what extent and in what
The teachers say that these children speak better, write
better composition/ and are better able to fellow the intricacies
of English grammar. With this statement the inspectors who
have visited the three schools are in substantial agreement
In Esperanto there is one letter for each sound and one sound,
for each letter (additional letters being formed by the use of
diacritics). None of the sounds is difficult, except possibly
the final ;' (v). Thus we have something not unlike the phonetic
systems employed by many teachers of foreign languages and
some teachers of English. It is not therefore surprising to find
that children speak Esperanto with more care than they speak
their own language, perhaps with more care than can be
accounted for merely by the fact that they are speaking a lan-
guage which the}^ have not been for years accustomed to mis-
pronounce. Although this new form of speech training is
begun somewhat late in life, it does appear to have some effect
on their use of their own tongue.
It is said that children who learn Esperanto improve in
English composition, that is to say they express themselves
with greater precision and perspicuity. There is no reason to
doubt the truth of this statement, difficult as it is of scientific
The same claim is made for Latin, and may be made for other
languages in a greater or less degree. The greater the exact-
ness of a language, the greater may be its value to those with
an inexact language like our own.
Precision of statement implies a precise knowledge of the
individual work. In learning Esperanto, a child comes in
contact with a large number of roots, most of them found in
English as well, and sees how, from these roots, new words can
be built. He will thus probably increase and certainly improve
his vocabulary and may acquire the beginnings of a scholarly
appreciation of words.
Finally, this language is grammar incarnate. It has few
rules, and these rules have no exceptions. Every noun ends in
o, every adjective in a, and each tense of the verb has its own
termination. The parsing of such a language is akin to the
"colour parsing" which appeals so strongly to young children,
and its study might well help to direct the explorer through
the shoals and quicksands of English grammar.
It has, indeed, been suggested that it would be worth while
to study Esperanto as a dead language, merely as a means of
— 53 —
learning grammar, but to do this would be to deprive it of
what appears to be its chief attraction to young children : the
ease with which it can be acquired as a means of oral expres-
On the whole, then, it would appear that Esperanto has little
commercial value at present, a fair amount of culture value,
of which full use has not yet been made, and very considerable
value as a means of improving English. It appeals to children,
even to dull children, and it can be acquired in two years by
a child of average ability sufficiently for practical purpo-
In certain circumstances, it might maintain a claim to become
the second language of the elementary school, but until its
employment in ordinary life is more general it is neither desi-
rable nor to be expected that it should be taught in many
schools. The lack of enthusiastic and properly qualified tea-
chers of this subject would alone be a sufficient obstacle. It
is said, for instance, that in Liverpool there are not more than
three or four such teachers.
There appears to be ample justification for allowing the pre-
sent experiments to go on, and even for encouraging other expe-
riments in the large towns, and especially in the large seaport
Results of Esperanto Teaching.
This question, it is assumed, does not relate to the value of
the subject, but to the efficiency or otherwise of the teaching
We may quite safely say that, taken as a whole, the teaching
of Esperanto is below the average of the teaching of other sub-
jects ; the spread of Esperanto is checked very much by the
lack of expert trained teachers. The generalisation made is one
that has often been put to Esperanto officials, and with whick
they have expressed their concurrence.
Number of Lessons required.
In a report, intended for more or less general application, on
the teaching of Esperanto in a public elementary school in liver-
pool recently, the inspector said that the boys of 12 to 14 years of
— 54 —
age who hab been under instruction for ik hour a week for
14 months had already acquired a fair grip of the language ;
their vocabulary of ordinary words was reasonably extensive,
and they could form sentences in Esperanto with due regard to
construction and grammar. He also said that the knowledge
acquired was equivalent to such a knowledge of French as
would enable a tourist to "find his way about" in France. By
the end of the two-year course he estimated that the boys would
have had all the definite instruction they would need in order
to be able to read such Esperanto books and carry on such Espe-
ranto conversation as would be appropriate to their years.
Adult students are generally proficient, if they are fairly
intelligent, after a year's formal study that is to say, by that
time they have reached a stage at which definite lessons
are better replaced by informal reading and practice in conver-
sation. A good working knowledge of the language may be
obtained in a few weeks by well-educated persons with some
previous knowledge of other foreign languages.
Has Esperanto proved helpful in acquiring Foreign Languages?
Yes, Esperanto is easy to learn, and consequently the student
soon reaches a stage at which he can put his knowledge into
use, i. e., a stage at which the study becomes interesting. This
is not the case with the study of a natural foreign language.
The first foreign language to be learnt is the most difficult,
because each helps the study of the one which follows.
Hence it would seem, and experience supports the view, that
a knowledge of Esperanto is a direct help towards the study, on
the part of persons without great linguistic ability, of natural
From an educational point Of view, the best way of regarding
Esperanto is not on account of its direct usefulness — which, of
course, must be small until most people have learnt it — but
because it is "language" in general, i.e., a generalised grammar
addressed to the League of Nations by the International Confe-
rence on the Teaching of Esperanto in Schools, held at the
League of Nations, Geneva, April iSth to 20th, 1922.
We, educationists from 28 countries and official representatives
of 16 Governments, assembled im Conference at the League
of Nations in Geneva, affirm our belief that at the root of the
present deplorable condition into which the civilised world
has fallen is the misunderstanding and mistrust which divide
the peoples from one another.
We affirm our belief that the only certain remedy for this
evil is education and the principle of international approxima-
tion for which the League of Nations stands.
We welcome as one of the most valuable contributions to the
solution of the problem of the reconstrucion of the world the
international auxiliary language Esperanto, and express our
conviction that it should be made part of the educational pro-
gramme of every civilised country.
We desire to make known to the League of Nations the
results of our experience in teaching Esperanto in schools in
different parts of the world.
We find that Esperanto is entirely adequate for practical use
as an international language for all the purposes in speech and
writing for which a language is required ; and that, moreover,
it possesses remarkable qualities which establish its value as
an educational instrument.
It is valuable as an aid to the correct use of the mother-tongue,
shown by improvement in pronunciation and enunciation, better
choice of words and knowledge of their meaning, improvement
in spelling, and knowledge «f the principles of grammar.
It is valuable as a stepping-stone to other languages, modern
and classical, lightening the task and saving the time of the
— 56 —
teacher in explaining grammatical forms, providing familiar
roots, and bringing to the task of expression a mind already-
accustomed to express itself in more than one language.
In our opinion, children should be taught Esperanto as the
first language after the mother-tongue in the elementary school.
This would provide those pupils who must leave at the earliest
possible moment with a complete knowledge of a second lan-
guage which they can use for practical purposes ; it would
demonstrate whether those who proceed to the secondary school
have an aptitude for further language studies, and would send
those forward who have such aptitude with minds prepared, and
thus effect an economy of time and better results in those stu-
dies; and those pupils who have no aptitude for languages
could be diverted to more congenial studies.
It is our experience that a knowledge of Esperanto has devel-
oped in our pupils a more real knowledge and appreciation of
geography, world history and moral education, and a greater
and more sympathetic interest in foreign peoples in their cus-
toms, literature, and art, and also in the peace of the world,
and the League of Nations. This has been chiefly aided by the
interchange of correspondence, illustrated postcards, and draw-
ings with children in other lands ; the reading of international
gazettes in Esperanto and the study of the literature of various
countries in the language. Pupils are able to engage in corres-
pondence after a few month's study of Esperanto. The advan-
tage of this correspondence is that it is not confined to any one
country, it being a common experience for the pupils in a single
school to have correspondents in many countries.
With two lessons <per week of one hour each, the pupils should
be able to obtain a sufficient mastery of the language in one
year, such as is not possible in any other language under similar
circumstances under three years.
We submit this Memorial to the earnest consideration of the
League of Nations and cordially recommend it to encourage
the teaching of Esperanto, not only because of its utility ua
commerce, science, and other international activities, but also
because of its value as a stimulus to that friendly relationship
between the peoples of the world which is the true aim of the
League of Nations.
Recommendation proposed to the League of Nations by the
International Conference on the Teaching of Esperanto in
The International Conference on the Teaching of Esperanto in
Schools, which met at the Secretariat of the League of Nations
from April iSth - 20th, 1922, having examined the experiments
made and the results obtained in this subject, submits, for the
favourable consideration of the League of Nations, the following
recommendation, which would meet the desire of the school
authorities represented at the Conference: —
"In view of the linguistic difficulties which hinder direct
relations between nations, and the urgent necessity of
remedying them in order to facilitate good understanding be-
tween nations ;
"In view of the considerable extent to which Esperanto has
spread and developed, and the interesting results obtained from
the teaching of this auxiliary language in the public schools of
several States in which its educational value has been recog-
"The League of Nations recommends that this teaching
should be made general in the public schools of the whole world
as a practical and popular means of international intercourse in
no way calculated to prejudice the age-long prestige of civilised
"The League of Nations invites its Members to inform it of
any measures which they may decide to take on this subject,
either by legislation or by administrative decrees, in order that
the Secretariat may inform them in turn how far these meas-
ttres are reciprocal and universal."
International Agreement on Esperanto in Schools proposed by
the Geneva Conference.
"The signatory States, acknowledging the importance of
spreading the universal use of an auxiliary language in order
to facilitate international communications, agree gradually to
introduce the teaching of Esperanto into their State schools
and to inform the League of Nations of the steps which they
decide to take to that effect, either by law or by decree.
"The present agreement will become applicable only when
it has been signed by ten States, five of which at least should
be European States."
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